Top 10 Horror Movies You Can Only Watch Once

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Top 10 Horror Movies You Can Only Watch Once

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Never watching that again, thank you very much. For this list, we'll be looking at scary and disturbing horror films that are just too creepy to watch more than once. Our countdown includes “Ringu”, “Funny Games”, “Halloween”, and more!
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Script Written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 horror movies too creepy to watch again


Well, never watching that again, thank you. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 horror movies too creepy to watch again.

For this list, we’ll be looking at scary and disturbing horror films that are just too creepy to watch more than once.

#10: “Ringu” (1998)

“The Ring” was pretty freaky, but nothing compares to the Japanese original. “Ringu” was a monumental and enormously popular film that instigated the J-horror craze of the early 2000s. But despite its undenying influence, it is just way too creepy to watch again. It’s a slow burn, and like all slow burn horror, it creeps up on you and stays with you long after the movie has finished. The freaky images and sounds on the tape still haunt us to this day, and that famous television sequence will likely go down in movie history (if it hasn’t already). Don’t get us wrong: it’s a great flick, but we draw the line at ghostly girls crawling out of TVs.

#9: “Funny Games” (1997)

Usually when we think of “scary movies,” we think of things like “Ringu” - a ridiculous story, creepy ghosts and ghoulies, and jump scares that make us throw our popcorn ten feet in the air. But “Funny Games” is a different sort of scary. In this psychological horror movie, two young men hold a wealthy family hostage and tortute them for their own amusement. The scenes themselves are certainly disturbing, but it’s the concept that prevents us from rewatching the thriller. It’s just a reminder that total unhinged evil exists in the world, and sometimes there’s just no explaining it. Some people are just evil, and the characters in “Funny Games” are the very embodiment of it.

#8: “Don’t Look Now” (1973)

This is a well-received film from the ‘70s that expertly blends different horror styles. At its surface, it’s a sort-of ghost story in that Donald Sutherland’s John begins to experience visions of his deceased daughter (among other things). But it’s also a dark and introspective exploration of grief and the harmful psychological effects that it has on the mind. It’s a tough theme to endure for two hours, and the unique, fragmented editing style evokes a very eerie and uncomfortable mood. The ending is also one of the scariest in horror movie history, and it really put us off ever wanting to revisit the film. It’s just a horribly disturbing experience all around.

#7: “Paranormal Activity” (2007)

This is one of those super divisive horror films that people either love or hate. We happen to love it, primarily because we love a good haunted house story. Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity” took the world by storm in 2007 thanks mainly to its low-budget charm, realistic mockumentary style, and good quality scares. Yeah, the series got a little silly later on with all the unnecessary mythology, but the first film serves as a perfect, self-contained supernatural story. People are scared of demons (whether they’re real or not), and “Paranormal Activity” knows how to push those buttons in the most fearful and realistic way possible.

#6: “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

This is another love it or hate it movie, primarily owing to its slow-burn style and unique approach to horror. It’s a very low-key film, and it relies on paranoia rather than traditional witch or ghost scares. You could argue that the group getting lost in the woods and slowly losing their minds is even scarier than the supernatural occurrences that befall them. There aren’t really any jump scares, no explanations - not even a glimpse of the witch herself. But the first person perspective puts us right in the heart of the increasing mania and feelings of hopelessness, and that is not somewhere we want to be again.

#5: “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

Despite its controversial director, “Rosemary’s Baby” is a seminal horror film that remains one of the finest examples of the genre. This movie concerns a young woman who begins to suspect that her neighbors are Satanists and that they are using her to birth the Antichrist. On the surface, it sounds ridiculous. But it’s a horrifying meditation on paranoia and panic. Rosemary’s mental descent and social isolation are woefully tragic, and the whopper of an ending remains firmly ingrained in the pop culture consciousness. Don’t watch it if you’re pregnant. That’s all we have to say.

#4: “The Exorcist” (1973)

You’d think “The Exorcist” was a snuff film the way people were reacting to it in 1973! There were reports of nausea, vomiting, fainting, some audience members had heart attacks, and a paper about people suffering from “cinematic neurosis” was even published in a psychiatric journal. Suffice to say, all of those people probably haven’t rewatched “The Exorcist.” And we don’t blame them. It’s a really difficult film to sit through. It contains horrifying imagery, and the idea of a young child under torment could be enough to turn viewers off - especially parents of young children themselves. It’s often considered the scariest movie of all time for a reason.

#3: “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

Anthony Hopkins is one of those actors that can send chills down your spine with a mere glance. It’s even worse when he makes unsettling noises with his tongue and talks about eating people. This is a brilliant movie in the way that it blends genres. At its core, the film is a traditional thriller about an FBI agent tracking down a serial killer. But much of its originality comes in the form of Hannibal Lecter, as he and Clarice form a more psychological study and discuss the darkness of human nature. Unfortunately, Lecter is just way too creepy and the flick’s themes are pessimistically dark. In a good way, of course, but they make revisiting “The Silence of the Lambs” a difficult chore.

#2: “Halloween” (1978)

“Halloween” helped kickstart the enormous slasher craze of the ‘80s and early ‘90s, but it has a certain something that the others don’t. A certain sense of gloom and doom. Maybe it’s Loomis’ brilliant monologues about the inherent and unexplainable nature of evil. Maybe it’s Michael’s creepy mask and total lack of personality. Maybe it’s the haunting music. Whatever it is, “Halloween” is a persistently dark, dreary, and utterly depressing film. And unlike most slashers, it doesn’t even rely on mindless bloody violence to entertain the audience. It’s just pure, unrelenting dread, and it reminds us that evil never tires or stops. Michael isn’t so much a character as he is the personification of an idea. And that idea is an ugly one.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Wicker Man” (1973)

“The Night of the Hunter” (1955)

“Suspiria” (1977)

“Peeping Tom” (1960)

“Wolf Creek” (2005)

#1: “The Shining” (1980)

This is one of those exceedingly rare occurrences when a movie adaptation is arguably better than the source novel. Don’t get us wrong: we love us some Stephen King. But Stanley Kubrick turned the story into cinematic magic. Horrifying cinematic magic. This psychological horror film has a little something to scare everyone. There’s the creepy supernatural goings-on, but there’s also the more personal story of a protective figure losing his mind and harming those he has vowed to love and defend. Add in some of cinema’s most unsettling visuals, and you have yourself a movie you will never want to return to.
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